Russia submerged a neutrino observatory in the world’s deepest lake

The Baikal-GVD will help scientists study the history of the universe.

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19, 2021

2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on Engadget

Over the weekend, Russian scientists lowered a series of detectors 762 meters to 1.3 kilometers below the surface of Lake Baikal (via ). Together, those sensors form the Baikal-Gigaton volume detector , the largest underwater space telescope in the Northern Hemisphere. It will help scientists study neutrinos. While it is one of the most abundant particles in the universe , neutrinos are also the smallest known to humans today. They can also travel great distances without interacting with any other form of matter. Those factors make them difficult to detect and study, but they can teach us a lot about the history of the universe .

Alexei Kushnirenko via Getty Images

Image: Alexei Kushnirenko via Getty Images

A joint project between Russia, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, construction at Baikal-GVD started in 2015. The actual ‘telescope’ consists of hundreds of spherical modules made of glass and stainless steel connected to the surface via a set of cables. These sensors currently occupy an area measuring 499.9 liters. Over time, the plan is to add more sensors to make the telescope even bigger.

Alexei Kushnirenko via Getty Images

Image: Alexei Kushnirenko via Getty Images

As for why they would place those modules underwater, it is a useful means of detecting neutrinos and Lake Baikal has a lot of that. Located in southern Siberia, it is one of the largest and deepest freshwater lakes in the world. It is also pristine and covered in ice for at least two months out of the year. There are not many places on the planet that are as ideal for this type of research as Lake Baikal. The only other two telescopes to match it in scale are the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica and the ANTARES telescope deep in the Mediterranean Sea.

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